It may take weeks to ID victim, know what caused deadly Roanoke house fire

The fire destroyed two homes on 10 1/2 Street

Crews battle flames at Southeast Roanoke fire on May 13, 2021. (Roanoke Fire-EMS)

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke Fire-EMS wants people to understand its people are working as fast as they can to determine what caused a deadly fire last week.

One person is dead and 13 others are without a home after the major fire in Southeast Roanoke on May 13.

The medical examiner’s office is working on identifying the victim, as the fire department investigates what caused the fire.

On Tuesday, Roanoke Fire-EMS released the following statement as it continues its investigation.

The cause for a fire this large with such extensive damage is often kept undetermined until all possibilities are ruled out. Fire Investigators come to a conclusion of cause of origin scientifically, therefore we must be absolutely positive of a fire’s cause before it can be released. Causes are established through multiple avenues such as conducting interviews, taking samples to the state lab to be tested, collecting surveillance footage, etc. These processes can take days to weeks depending on the severity of the incident. Fire Investigations can be extensive and are not always obvious as much of the evidence is burned in the flames. All investigations are conducted in this manner to ensure that any cause of a fire is concluded scientifically and can be upheld in a court of law. Roanoke Fire-EMS is exhausting all efforts in the investigation of this fire and will continue to do so until a cause has been determined. The Department is also working with the Medical Examiners Office for positive identification of the victim.

The fire destroyed two homes on 10 1/2 Street.